Mathematical modelling and reactor design for multi-cycle bioregeneration of nitrate exhausted ion exchange resin
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Nitrate contamination is one of the largest issues facing communities worldwide. One of the most common methods for nitrate removal from water is ion exchange using nitrate selective resin. Although these resins have a great capacity for nitrate removal, they are considered non regenerable. The sustainability of nitrate-contaminated water treatment processes can be achieved by regenerating the exhausted resin several times rather than replacing and incineration of exhausted resin. The use of multi-cycle exhaustion/bioregeneration of resin enclosed in a membrane has been shown to be an effective and innovative regeneration method. In this research, the mechanisms for bioregeneration of resin were studied and a mathematical model which incorporated physical desorption process with biological removal kinetics was developed. Regardless of the salt concentration of the solution, this specific resin is a pore-diffusion controlled process (XδD ¯CDr0(5+2α)<1). Also, Thiele modulus was calculated to be between 4 and 12 depending on the temperature and salt concentration. High Thiele modulus (>3) shows that the bioregeneration process is controlled by reaction kinetics and is governed by biological removal of nitrate. The model was validated by comparison to experimental data; the average of R-squared values for cycle 1 to 5 of regeneration was 0.94 ± 0.06 which shows that the developed model predicted the experimental results very well. The model sensitivity for different parameters was evaluated and a model bioreactor design for bioregeneration of highly selective resins was also presented.
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